I went to Pecha Kucha Boston last night, which is totally awesome. I highly recommend finding/starting one in your city. It's 20 slides X 20 seconds, so if something is boring, fear not, it will be over soon! Plus it's fun to watch the speaker get flustered cause their slides are blipping along. Yay emax for organizing!
Anyway, there was one talk that I haven't been able to get out of my head. Robin Chase from GoLoco gave a talk about sharing. What is totally awesome is that by just trying to find her name right now, I found out she was the former CEO of Zipcar! Her talk totally mentioned them and now I know she really knows what she's talking about.
Anyway, she believes that sharing is integral to sustainability. And I totally agree with her. I don't own a toolkit, so I usually borrow my roommate's hammer when I want to hang a photo. It's annoying to go find him every time I need his hammer, but it would be more annoying to buy one. What I realized is that we probably don't even need a hammer per house -- we could survive with a hammer per 4 houses or a hammer per block. How often are you using your hammer? Would it kill you to have to wait a couple of hours for one? How much stuff could you get rid of if you knew you could borrow it, no problem, from a neighbor?
Our culture has way too much stuff -- everything is all about getting your own, new things. That "new car smell". Old mattresses have bedbugs. I want a new computer so I know there's nothing wrong with it. Thrift stores are gross. Ew, eating food out of a dumpster is disgusting (sometimes, it's not!)
We don't need all this new stuff! There's so much out there to reuse. The problem is figuring out a way to share, and to distribute ownership responsibilities fairly. My car is sitting in SF right now, unused. Why should I ship it to Boston when there are already so many cars here, and I don't even need one all the time? I've been using Zipcar, but it's kind of pricey, and not good for regular, short trips. I would like to let other people use my car in SF, but dealing with the insurance is a hassle. And what happens if something breaks? How do we figure out who should pay for repairs? Similar problems pop up with me leveraging other people's cars in Boston. I get that slimey feeling asking to borrow someone's car.
The other day I was walking down 6th street in Cambridge, freezing, and I found myself wishing I could hitchhike a ride with one of the people driving down the street past me (warm and snug in their cars), to MIT. Maybe I could set up a regular arrangement -- they drop me off at MIT (3 minute drive, 18 minute cold freezing walk) and I could make them coffee. Or a bagel. I would totally bring someone a bagel every morning if they'd drive me to school (I make good coffee too).
Food for thought. I want to live in a community where we all have less stuff!